Initiative means public never more than three-minute walk from life-saving help

A Manchester-based initiative which aims to provide life-saving help has reached its target to provide city-centre defibrillators. As a result, the public are now never more than three minutes walking distance from life-saving help.

The HeartSafe MCR pilot scheme was originally launched in Piccadilly Gardens before being extended to cover the city as a whole taking in the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, Deansgate, Oxford Road and New Islington. The scheme also coincided with Restart a Heart Day last month (16 October) which aims to raise awareness and encourage education around the importance of CPR.

In the UK there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year

In Manchester, the day corresponded with highlighting where defibrillators are located across the city as well as encouraging businesses to sign up. The scheme is jointly run by city centre management company CityCo and The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

Heart Safe Manchester A Public Defibrillator Scheme That Has Installed The Life Saving Equipment In Businesses And Places Across The City
The scheme is a collaboration between CityCo and The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS)

A life-saving scheme in the heart of the city

Over 120 defibrillators are now discounted across areas in the centre of the city and 25% of these are accessible 24/7 to the public. The bulk of the 24/7 defibrillators are located in hotels including Hotel Gotham, Hotel Brooklyn, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Doubletree By Hilton, Jury’s Inn, Velvet Hotel & Bar, Whitworth Locke and Macdonald Manchester Hotel.

Others are located at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, First Street and City Tower.

There are also 15 Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPADs) located in the city centre outside the Adidas store on Market Street and Zara on New Cathedral Street. Other key locations include The Printworks, The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Arndale, Great Northern Warehouse, Manchester Cathedral, The Science and Industry Museum and The National Football Museum.

A Rainy Day Outside Exchange Square Looking Towards The Printworks In Manchester Which Is Home To A Defibrillator
The Printworks, Hotel Gotham and The Science & Industry Museum are just some of the defibrillator locations

Businesses in Manchester such as Brabners, Hill Dickinson LLP and Peninsula have also signed up to the scheme and offer access to a defibrillator during operating hours. Others are encouraged to follow suit.

Training is also essential to the scheme. More than 200 staff have already been trained through the HeartSafe initiative across sectors taking part in the scheme, from hoteliers to professional services. The scheme also supports businesses in the maintenance of the equipment, support and safety checks with the help of healthcare equipment company, Stereoplast.

The Hilton Hotel On Deansgate Is Another Location Supporting The Heart Safe Manchester Defibrillator Scheme
Hotels including The Hilton on Deansgate will provide 24/7 defibrillator access

Raising the chances of survival

A defibrillator (AED - automated external defibrillator) delivers an electric pulse through the chest to return the heart to a normal rhythm. If administered within the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest it can give the casualty an 80% chance of survival.

Alex King, Partnership Director at CityCo said: “In the UK there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year and following the real-time worldwide broadcast of the resuscitation of Danish footballer Eriksen on the pitch, the opportunity for learning and awareness is now at an all-time high." 

"We launched the HeartSafe scheme in Piccadilly back in 2015 and since then have worked closely with the North West Ambulance Service, Manchester City Council and city centre businesses and venues to expand this life-saving initiative across the city centre. [...] we’re keen to raise awareness with the public of where these defibs are located alongside encouraging businesses to sign up to the scheme and ensuring those defibs that are in place are regularly maintained and as many staff as possible are trained to use defibrillators should they need to use them.”

Heart Safe Manchester Supports Defibrillators In Public Places As Well As Education In How To Use Them
If administered within the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest it can give the casualty an 80% chance of survival

David McNally, Blue Light Collaboration and Engagement Manager at North West Ambulance Service said:

“The HeartSafe zone within Manchester was born with one purpose to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) freely accessible to anyone suffering an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Manchester City centre. Every minute matters when someone suffers an OHCA and if an AED is at the patient’s side within four minutes the chances of survival can be 80%. The relaunch will bring a renewed enthusiasm with existing partners and allow new business and organisations to register their devices to help support this.

“The partnership work with City Co has enabled collaboration with the key aim to help save lives, the links that have been made have enabled not only provision of devices but the key awareness and training to use AEDs when an emergency presents.”

The Heart Safe Scheme Which Will Mean Defibrillators Across Manchester City Centre Including The Printworks
"Every minute matters when someone suffers a OHCA (out of hospital cardiac arrest)."

Jason Shay, Centre Director at The Printworks said:  

“The Printworks has been a supporter of HeartSafe since its inception in 2015. As a premium urban visitor destination in Manchester City Centre, we continue to have a robust medical and first aid operation as part of our visitor experience, including access to defibrillators. Being part of Manchester’s city wide HeartSafe scheme allows us to support the public and emergency services should the need arise.”

Deansgate Mews In Manchester Next To Great Northern Warehouse Which Has A Public Defibrillator
The Great Northern Warehouse is another popular destination with an automated external defibrillator (AED)

The scheme arrives in the city after high-profile cardiac arrest incidents in 2021. During the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament during the summer, Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation used to save his life. Similar events have taken place in recent weeks with fans and players alike both in domestic football and abroad.

Former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was substituted during a Barcelona match this week after suffering from breathing difficulties and chest pains, reports confirming he will be out for three months following a cardiological evaluation.

These instances only highlight further the universal threat of cardiac-related health issues and the importance of schemes that provide life-saving equipment and the education needed to administer them.

A map of the scheme's public defibrillators is available online. For more information on the HeartSafe MCR scheme head to the City Co website.

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